Pair of PacWest titles gives California Baptist lead in chase for Commissioner’s Cup

Chantel Cappuccilli PHOENIX – California Baptist claimed a pair of conference championships and finished no worse than third in any of the five fall sports to grab the early lead in the chase for the 2012-13 Pacific West Conference Commissioner’s Cup.

The Lancers, who captured the cup during their inaugural season in the PacWest last year, lead runner-up Grand Canyon by seven total points and a 1.4 average finish thanks to a strong fall season that saw PacWest Championships in men’s cross country and women’s soccer, a second-place finish in women’s cross country, and a pair of third-place results in women’s volleyball and men’s soccer.

The Antelopes of Grand Canyon currently are sitting second with 60 points and a 12.0 average that translates into an across-the-board average finish of third place. GCU won the men’s soccer title, finished third in both men’s and women’s cross country, wound up fourth in volleyball, and placed fifth in women’s soccer.

Azusa Pacific, which is making its debut in the PacWest this season, presently is third with 59 points and an 11.800 average finish - just one point behind the Antelopes. The Cougars, who are basically averaging a third-place finish across the spectrum of their athletic program as well, captured the PacWest women’s cross country championship, finished second in women’s soccer, wound up fourth in men’s cross country, and placed fifth in both men’s soccer and women’s volleyball.

BYU-Hawaii is fourth with 54 points and an average finish of 10.8 (fourth place) after winning the PacWest women’s volleyball title, taking second in men’s cross country, grabbing fourth in women’s soccer and fifth in women’s cross country.

Fresno Pacific rounds out the Top 5 after totaling 44.5 points and producing an 8.9 average (or average finish of sixth) following a pair of second-place finishes in women’s volleyball and men’s soccer.

The PacWest Commissioner’s Cup Standings are updated three times a year following the fall, winter and spring seasons.

The race for the Commissioner’s Cup is based upon average finish instead of point totals, a change that occurred prior to the 2009-10 campaign. Each school totals its points and then divides it by the number of PacWest athletic programs it offers, giving an overall average finish for the school.

Several significant changes have occurred in the PacWest Commissioner’s Cup Scoring System this year. First, the PacWest has added four new institutions (Azusa Pacific, Fresno Pacific, Holy Names and Point Loma) and four new sports (men’s tennis, women’s golf, and men’s and women’s track & field).

This year the first-place teams receive 15 points, while the second-place teams will receive no higher than 13 points, effectively given the conference champion a bonus point for winning the league title. Point totals vary from sport to sport and are based upon the number of schools sponsoring that program. A formula has been established that accounts for sports with sponsoring schools ranging from six to 14 teams.

When teams are tied in the standings, the tiebreaker of head-to-head competition - if the teams have played a conference contest against each other - is used to break the deadlock; otherwise, the points awarded to those positions are added together then distributed evenly among the schools.

The winter season, which is now underway, will crown champions in men’s and women’s basketball, while men’s and women’s tennis, men’s and women’s golf, baseball, softball and men’s and women’s track & field will battle for league titles in the spring.

Hawai‘i Pacific captured the Commissioner’s Cup in 2009-10 and 2010-11. Hawai‘i Hilo claimed the inaugural trophy in 2007-08, while BYU-Hawaii earned the title in 2008-09. California Baptist became the first Mainland institution to win the Commissioner’s Cup when they earned in last year.